Encouragement for Today
“Sitting in Time-Out, Part 2”
Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries
Psalm 4:4, “In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.” (NIV)
When you’re having a bad day, do you put yourself in time-out? A friend of mine works in a preschool. When kids are being unruly, aggressive, or using hurtful words with their friends, school policy is that they go to time-out. The point of a time-out is for a child to be set apart from the ones they are hurting, so they have the opportunity to think about the choice they made. The hope is that “thinking” about their bad choice will lead to making good choices in the future if they know their friends have been hurt by their words or actions.
Read today’s Key Verse. Though many adults use it as a modern-day alternative to spanking their kids, I think King David might possibly be the originator of time-outs. How wise he was! Unlike the kids at the preschool, the Bible warns us to take a time-out before we choose to hurt others. It’s important that we remove ourselves from the opportunity to sin ahead of time.
In this Psalm of hope, David writes of God’s protection, peace and provision when feeling overwhelmed. He knew that God would keep him safe and grant him what he needed. He trusted the Lord. However, David hit rough patches just like the rest of us, becoming angry at people and circumstances when things were frustrating and situations looked impossible. Does this sound like familiar territory?
Yet, David knew the implications of how hurtful our words and actions can be when we let them control us. He also knew that when those moments of anger and frustration strike, the best option is to take a time-out – to separate ourselves for the betterment of the group and prevent any destructive behavior.
I love how David talks about sitting on our beds and being silent. Oh, how I wish I could have read that verse before I said what I had said to my children in yesterday’s devotion! For sure, my kids have heard me say some things when I should have kept silent, as this verse recommends. Are there times in your life when you wish you had given yourself a time-out and stayed silent? Are there things you regret saying to your kids, husband or friends?
Our words are powerful. Indeed, the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body. Just like the other muscles of our body, how we use it makes all the difference. James 3:5 says, “Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.”
The best part of that verse is the second half where it says to “consider” how we use that small but powerful muscle. Recognize that, to our loved ones, our tongues have the ability to: 1) Entirely wipe out their self-esteem, 2) Destroy feelings of security in relationship to us, or 3) Devastate their confidence in our ability to love them unconditionally. This is worth considering every time we’re tempted to lash out at them in anger.
We can think before we speak or we can react without thinking about the effect of our words. These are choices we make every time we open our mouths. Sitting on my bed and being silent is sounding better and better!
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Heavenly Father, I ask You to help me practice the discipline of taking a time-out when I am angry. I desire to choose my words wisely so that I do not create scars in the hearts of those I love most. Remind me that, instead of using my tongue to bring destruction, I can use it to build and lift other s up.
How can you as a wife, mother, and friend use your words wisely? Apply King David’s method of taking a time-out. When you are tempted to lash out at someone in anger because your buttons have been pushed to the max, do the following:
- Separate yourself from the crowd. Simply ask to be excused for a few minutes and find a quiet place to be alone.
- Take a deep breath. Sit or lie down and then ask God to search your heart and show you where the root of your anger is coming from and whether or not you are justified in being upset. I often find myself asking the question: Is this really a battle worth fighting?
- When you come to a place of peace where you are able to collect yourself and handle the situation in a godly way, return to what you were doing.
Read 1 Corinthians 11:31-32 (listed in today’s power verses). This is a verse of self-evaluation. When we are angry or bitter about something, it is important that we use self-evaluation or “judging ourselves” before we react. If we don’t use self-evaluation and lash out in anger, God will judge us for the words we used. However, if we judged ourselves – our hearts, minds, and motives before we speak – we just might find that it’s easier to restrain our tongues than if we hadn’t practiced that discipline (and it is a discipline).
Psalm 34:13-14, “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (NIV)
Psalm 39:1, “I said, ‘I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence.’” (NIV)
Proverbs 10:19, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” (NIV)
Proverbs 21:23, “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.” (NIV)
Corinthians 11:31-32, “But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.” (NIV)
The Bathtub is Overflowing, but I Feel Drained; by Lysa TerKeurst
The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman
A Woman’s Secret to a Balanced Life; by Lysa TerKeurst and Sharon Jaynes